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Old EnglishOldenglish health.jpg hǣlþ OHG. heilida, -itha, -idha:{em}WGer. type *haili{th}a, f. hail-s WHOLE, HALE: see -TH1.

  • 1. a. Soundness of body; that condition in which its functions are duly and efficiently discharged.
b. Colloq. phr. for one's health, used esp. in neg. contexts or with negative implication, e.g. to be not doing (something) for one's health: to have a serious purpose in doing something, to be doing something for one's material advantage. orig. U.S.
  • 2. a. By extension, The general condition of the body with respect to the efficient or inefficient discharge of functions: usually qualified as good, bad, weak, delicate, etc.
b. bill of health: see BILL n.3 10; formerly in Scotch Law, an application by an imprisoned debtor to be allowed to live out of prison, on the ground of bad health (Bell Dict. Law Scotl.). board of health, (a) in the United Kingdom: a Government Board which existed 1848-58 for the control of matters affecting the public health: its duties are now discharged by the Local Government Board; (b) in the United States: the name of boards of commissioners for controlling sanitary matters, esp. in reference to contagious and infectious diseases. office, officer of health: see health-office, -officer in 8.
For lessons on the related topic of Healing, follow this link.
  • 5. Well-being, welfare, safety; deliverance.
  • 6. A salutation or wish expressed for a person's welfare or prosperity; a toast drunk in a person's honour.
  • 7. Healthiness, wholesomeness, salubrity. Obs.


Early prayer was hardly worship; it was a bargaining petition for health, wealth, and life. And in many respects prayers have not much changed with the passing of the ages. They are still read out of books, recited formally, and written out for emplacement on wheels and for hanging on trees, where the blowing of the winds will save man the trouble of expending his own breath.[1]

Prayer is not a technique for curing real and organic diseases, but it has contributed enormously to the enjoyment of abundant health and to the cure of numerous mental, emotional, and nervous ailments. And even in actual bacterial disease, prayer has many times added to the efficacy of other remedial procedures. Prayer has turned many an irritable and complaining invalid into a paragon of patience and made him an inspiration to all other human sufferers.[2]